Site of Africa’s Only Vatican-Approved Marian Apparition Hosts International Rosary Event

The Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows in Kibeho, Rwanda.

Rwanda’s Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows in Kibeho, which is Africa’s only Vatican-approved site of a Marian apparition, played host to an online international Rosary prayer event held during the annual Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary, an organizer of the event has told ACI Africa.

Spearheaded by the World Family of Radio Maria (WFRM), an organization that operates a network of Marian radios across the world, the Wednesday, October 7 event saw millions of Catholics from five continents join in praying the Holy Rosary through the Marian stations in their respective countries.

WFRM officials decided to animate the international Rosary prayer event from the Shrine since it is a renowned pilgrimage site that “remains a very important Marian center for the whole African continent,” the Editorial Director of Radio Maria Africa, Jean Paul Kayihura told ACI Africa Friday, October 9.

Jean Paul further said that the virtual prayer event also sought “to make known the apparitions of Kibeho to the whole world because, as the Virgin Mary had pointed out, her message given to Kibeho concerning the true prayer without hypocrisy, the invitation to conversion, to pray for the Church, etc. is destined to the whole world.”

Located Southwest of Rwanda, the Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows, Kibeho stands on the site where the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM) appeared to three secondary school-going students between 1982-1983, introducing herself as the “Nyina Wa Jambo,” translated to mean “Mother of the Word,” a phrase synonymous with “Mother of God.”


During the appearances, the BVM gave various messages to the students, including an apocalyptic vision of hatred and violence bedeviling the East African nation, a message interpreted as a prediction of the country’s 1994 genocide that left at least 800,000 people dead in 100 days.

The then Local Ordinary of the Diocese of Gikongoro within which the Shrine is located, the late Bishop Augustin Misago, approved a public devotion linked to the apparitions of the Solemnity of the Assumption of BVM in 1988 and in line with Vatican guidelines, declared their authenticity on June 29, 2001.

During the October 9 interview with ACI Africa, the Rwanda-based Radio Maria official said that the international virtual prayer event was also held to “show to the secularized world that prayer is important because it gives health to the soul.”

He added, “As we invest in the things that allow for the well-being of the body, we must also invest in the spiritual things that lead to the salvation of the soul.”

The October 7 Holy Rosary prayer event also saw participants present petitions for the five continents to Our Lady of Kibeho, each petition coinciding with a mystery of the Holy Rosary.

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The petitions included seeking the intercession of the BVM to “fight against violence, epidemics, poverty, and corruption; to work for peace, harmony and tolerance; to have new courage for evangelization and to promote the presence of more women in areas of responsibility in the Church,” Jean Paul told ACI Africa.

He went on to recall the prayer intention for Africa during the October 7 event saying, “Let us pray for the African continent, which has been shaken by so many evils: violence, epidemics, and poverty. Africa, here is your Risen Lord coming to you in glory.”

The Rwanda-based WFRM official added that participants prayed for Africa to “Welcome the light of the resurrection of Christ, who has overcome sin and death.”

“Be clothed with strength from on high to overcome poverty and misery,” he recalled part of the prayer intentions for Africa and continued, “As Christ has risen from the dead, arise, Africa, and walk with the Lord towards your destiny!”

Participants also prayed for peace in Southeast Asian and Oceanian countries, which “face not only the toll of the pandemic but also the many economic and political upheavals that beset them internally and as an international community,” Jean Paul recalled during the October 9 interview.


They also prayed for the Church and the faithful of Europe; for the Americas; and for the Church’s Universal Mission, imploring that “by the virtue of baptism, the laity, especially women, may participate more in areas of responsibility in the Church.”

The October 7 international virtual prayer event coincided with the first anniversary of a similar event organized by WFRM at the invitation of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (Propaganda Fide) and the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) to mark the Extraordinary Mission Month of October 2019 (EMMOCT2019).

According to Jean Paul, through Radio Maria stations in various African countries, thousands of faithful join in “prayer bridges” on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday in Swahili, French Portuguese and English languages, during which they pray the Rosary for peace animated from Radio Maria station in Kibeho.

Staff at Radio Maria Kibeho also facilitate a monthly intercontinental “prayer bridge” link to German and Spanish speaking countries, as well as to Radio Maria stations in Italy, in Guatemala and in the Philippines.

“The (Holy) Rosary is a good prayer that brings us closer to the Virgin Mary and her Son Jesus. This prayer should be taught to children. In other words, make sure that the Rosary is the prayer of all categories: children, young people, adults and the elderly,” Jean Paul told ACI Africa October 9.

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In praying the Holy Rosary, he further said, “we should all remember that we have the same heavenly Mother, who loves us all, and that consequently, we are ‘all brothers and sisters’ despite geographical territories (countries or continents), ethnic or skin color differences, etc.”